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Network Administration

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Network administration refers to the various activities, techniques, procedures, and tools used for managing and operating networks. Network administration concerns ways of ensuring smooth running of computer networks. Wisniewski (2009) defines network administration as a collection of tasks that aim at troubleshooting computer systems, creation of backups, storage and documentation of files within the network as well as providing adequate security to data stored within the network.

Steps to Take When Capturing Data and Tracking Server Performance

Step I: Determination of the Type of Baseline Data (2 Weeks)

The first stage involves establishing the type of baseline data to be captured during the process as well as the servers, which are to be tracked. The first step also entails setting the goals for capturing baseline data and outlines the importance of tracking the performance of the servers. This stage also involves identifying various problems of the server while executing its functions.

Step II: Setting Filters for Selective Collection of Data (2 Weeks)

The second stage involves setting the appropriate filters or sifts that will assist during the data collection process.  In my view, the filters will assist in determining the types of data to be captured, thus leading to collection of high quality data that provides reliable information. In addition, performance measures and benchmarks are set to define the expected results.

Step III: System Isolation (1 Week)

The third stage involves separating the server under consideration from the network in order to establish its performance. It is usually done by identifying various causes of failure of the server through appropriate diagnosis and using loopback tests to determine locations of disconnection. Similarly, software fault isolation is also used to examine configuration errors within the system.

Step IV: Determining Data Transmission Protocols (3 weeks)

The fourth step involves investigating and exploring how data is conveyed or passed on across the server. Determination of data transmission protocols entails finding out how the server communicates with other devices within the network.

Step V: Conducting Actual Data Collection (3 Months)

At this stage, baseline data and information about the performance of the server are collected using various data collection techniques such as recording, observation and experimenting. During the data capturing process, data on propagation delays or time taken between events are captured to track the performance of the server. This step also involves conducting workload surveys to capture data on the overload conditions within the server. In order to effectively capture baseline data and track the performance of the server in relation to workload, a warning alarm is set to detect and reject the excess overloads. During the data collection period, there should be no updates of the system or network, because this would interfere with performance of the servers. Thus, unreliable data or information could be produced

Step VI: Data Analysis (1 Month)

This is the last stage of the baseline data capturing and tracking of the server performance. It involves conducting quality of services analysis (QSA) to determine logs in the management of baseline data within the network as well as establishing how various components of the server perform their functions. Quality service analysis also helps in establishing benchmarks for comparing future performances. Analysis of data collected helps in determining whether performance of the network or server meets the projected standards or not.

Type of Data to be Captured

The types of data that I would capture during the exercise include data on server transmission units, waiting or queuing time, response time between sending and receipts of requests, network throughput or number of successful transmissions within the network or server and workload. I would also collect data on the ability of the server to tolerate faults and errors. Similarly, information about delivery of data, data paths and transmission errors, such as failures or collisions experienced by the server, will also be captured.

Differences between Normal and Safe Boot and the Available Options during Safe Boot

The major difference between normal boot and safe boot is that the first one allows for execution of all the components, services or utilities of the network when the server starts. Safe boot loads a limited number of utilities of the network, when the server starts. Similarly, normal boot is used for usual or regularly functionalities of the system, whereas safe boot is a diagnostic method used for fixing problems within the network. Safe boot is usually used for removing scoundrel and harmful software and applications such as viruses and malwares within the network. Normal boot does not provide access to diagnostic utilities and programs within the network system whereas as safe boot provides these utilities. Thus, safe boot provides users of the network with the ability to troubleshoot the causes of the problems. Ivens (2010) also affirms that safe boot is intended for maintenance purposes whereas normal boot is meant for functionality purposes. According to Oppenheimer (2010), booting the server or network using safe booting often results into reduced functionality, hence facilitating the task of problem identification and fixation. In addition, normal boot provides all the components in the network. In safe mode, only the core components are enabled. Non-core components usually remain disabled during safe boot.

The option that the user has during safe boot is an ability to access and use diagnostic utilities of the network and find out what causes problems within the system. Similarly, the network administrator is capable of changing the configurations of the system when it is booted up using safe boot. Normal boot usually lacks this feature.

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